Utah Jazz notes: After Cavs thriller, Jazz look to refocus vs. Bucks
SALT LAKE CITY — Somebody might want to send a tweet or a text to Cloud Nine.
Pardon the championship-like celebration, but the Utah Jazz now need to come back down to earth after their heaven-sent 97-96 win over Cleveland on Thursday.
They do have a game tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks, after all.
They're a little — OK, a lot — less exciting of an opponent. But it's still an important game for the Jazz, who are trying to climb up the playoff-positioning ladder.
It has all the makings of a typical trap game, coming between Thursday's thriller and Sunday's showdown at Northwest Division-leading Denver.
The Jazz (22-17), on an uptick with wins in three straight and four-of-five games, insist they won't overlook the Bucks (15-21).
"I don't think so," Jazz shooting guard Kyle Korver said. "We know we've got to get on a roll."
The Jazz do have some huge advantages.
For one thing, the Bucks recently lost sharpshooter Michael Redd for the season with a knee injury. Milwaukee, led by rookie guard Brandon Jennings and former Ute center Andrew Bogut, also played a late game Friday at Golden State.
But Utah has lost similar games, including a heartbreaking home loss to Minnesota two days after a big win over the Los Angeles Lakers in December.
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan admitted his team is conscientious about trying to not have a letdown.
"Sure, you worry about that," Sloan said.
It's one thing, he knows, to get up for the Cavs and Lakers — a whole 'nother thing to play as sharp against the lowlier teams like the Bucks, especially for this Jazz group.
"You play against a team that's struggling a little bit for some reason you want to go for individual stuff instead of team stuff," Sloan said, "and you don't have much of a chance to win."
INJURY UPDATES: Both Deron Williams (sprained right wrist) and Andrei Kirilenko (hyperextended right knee) sat out of practice Friday after getting hurt in Thursday's game. They will be game-time decisions tonight.
"I'm doing good," said Kirilenko, who attended practice but only did rehab work. "It feels way better than it's supposed to be, so I'm playing (Saturday)."
Kirilenko hesitated and added, "I'm planning to play (Saturday)."
Williams left early in the fourth quarter after reinjuring his wrist. He also got inadvertently smacked in the face by Carlos Boozer in the painful game. The point guard received treatment Friday but was unavailable for comment.
10-DAY NO-BRAINER: The Jazz officially signed hero du jour, Sundiata Gaines, to a second 10-day contract Friday. The ex-Idaho Stampede player has averaged 4.2 points, 1.4 assists and 0.2 game-winning shots while helping Utah go 4-1 since joining the Jazz last week.
"We were laughing and joking, that's how you get a second 10-day," Jazz guard Ronnie Brewer said. "That's how you stay on the team."
For the record, general manager Kevin O'Connor told Gaines about the Jazz's intentions before he hit the memorable first and only 3-pointer of his short NBA career.
GREEN WITH WIN-VY: Kind of fitting that the Jazz wore their green Hardwood Classics jerseys Thursday. It turned out to be an instant hoops classic and improved Utah's home record to 3-0 in the throwback jerseys.
HELPING HAITI: Jazz dancers and staff members will accept donations to aid victims of the Haiti earthquake at EnergySolutions Arena's entrances before tonight's game. Donations can also be made by visiting utahjazz.com or calling 1-800-4UNICEF.
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